Saturday, February 19, 2011

Know Your Azkals: Neil Etheridge in Love

I was wanting to do a feature on all the Azkals team players so that we can get to know them better. But lack of time is the greatest challenge of all. But hey, Thanks to GMA!


A lot of people love Neil Etheridge. The built, the face, the brawn, the athleticism – what’s not to like? Since it’s Valentine’s Day, let’s flip the coin and find out what Neil loves.

Neil loves football

Obviously. Neil has been playing football since he started walking. Born in Anfield, he has played for England’s U-16 team. He started out in Chelsea Academy before getting scouted. At 15, he moved to Fulham where he was recently elevated to the first team. As prestigious as it is to play in the English Premier League, Neil says it’s also a wonderful if different experience playing for the Azkals.

“First of all, the style is very different – the heat, the knowledge, the media. Plus when I’m playing with the Azkals, you have the attention of the whole country. And I get to start every game," he says.

And is there anything he doesn’t like about football?

“I never regret anything. But if I have a worst experience, it would have to be that first goal in Indonesia. I let that one go in. You just have to learn from it and move on."

Neil loves his teammates

You’ve probably heard of the bromance going on between him and Simon Greatwich, but Neil’s actually close friends with all the Azkals. He’s even got his own cast of “Entourage" in the team – he’s Vince, Simon is E, Jason Sabio is Drama, while the role of Turtle is still up for grabs.

Okay, so maybe he’s a teeny bit closer to Simon since they roomed together in Cambodia and in Bacolod.

“Their room is a garbage bin!" teammate Rob Gier shares. The rest of the team agree.

Oh and Simon is now his unofficial manager. So if you want Neil for anything, suck up to Simon.

Neil loves shopping

Unlike majority of men who dread shopping, Neil claims that he is a “massive shopper." Just before he left for the UK, he even went on a shopping spree at Nike.

“My style is very simple. I like fitted shirts. And I always wear black or white," he says.

He loves fashion so much that he can’t pinpoint a single clothing item he can’t live without. Rob suggests gloves, while Simon says Neil doesn’t have one because he likes being naked. After much thought and other “helpful" ideas from the team, Neil says it’s black shirts.

“I have about six black shirts. They’re my favorites. And I also can’t live without my watch," he says.

Neil loves his fans

His supporters are among the craziest ones so far. In Bacolod, fans climbed balconies just to see him in his room. As creepy as it sounds, Neil doesn’t mind.

“The attention is just great. It makes us feel very welcome," he says. 

And this isn’t just some showbiz answer. Neil says that among the places he’s been to, his favorite would have to be Manila.

“I seriously love Manila. It has this friendly atmosphere. There are so many things to do and it’s very affordable," he adds. 

Neil loves Twitter

If you’re not yet following @Neil38Etheridge, why not?

Neil got Twitter after much prodding from the Greatwiches (and the fans actually). He immediately got thousands of followers, most of which are female Azkal fans. Although he wasn’t very keen on it at first, he’s fallen in love with it so much that he even bought a laptop so he can reply to the fans’ tweets faster!

Neil loves girls

Right now, hundreds of girls claim to be the future Mrs. Etheridge. But if you want to be the one, then listen up.

“What catches my eye is all the things other guys want. But to get a second date, you have to be interesting. Not laying all your cards at once, not too superficial – just be yourself. It’s basically me enjoying myself with you," he says.

Would he date a fan? Yes. Would he date someone who wasn’t into football? Surprisingly, it’s another yes.

He says the sweetest thing he’s ever done for a girl is taking her out on a river cruise, with matching candlelit dinner on the boat. (Rob reacts again and says, “Don’t believe him! He’s just seen that in a movie!")

Valentine’s Day is almost here so it was necessary to ask him about his plans. He’s spending it with his first love – football – as Fulham has a match against Chelsea. After that, he’s probably having dinner out with his family.

So what exactly is his status?

“I’m single. Single but always dating," he ends with a smile. -- KY/OMG, GMA News



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